Questions Only an Idiot Could Answer,
Randy: Well Gary. Here we are in the first weeks of spring here in New York and still freezing our butts off.
Gary: Gee I'm toasty warm snuggled inside these big old sacks!
Randy: Hey what are those?
Gary: I don't know. But they sure are full and warm and postage like.
Randy: Hey our mail! Man, I knew we had to be getting some mail. How long have you been sleeping on these.
Gary: Since you blew up my mattress in your last Virtual Nap experiment.
Randy: Oh yea, sorry about that one. I have to replace those rubber sheets the doctor told you to use too.
Gary: Shhhhhh, you promised not to mention that.
Randy: Sorry man. I'm just sharing with our readers.
Gary: Let's just share some of our best mail and leave it at that.
Randy: I think our readers would probably like that too.
Just thought I'd drop a line to thank you for the kind words in your 1999 Mac Games Drool List. I'd also like to clarify that WXP is actually a Seattle, Washington based corporation, not "Asian game makers" as mentioned in the article. Not that that would be a bad thing (all hail Shigeru Miyamoto!).
Another thing I'd like to note: The ultimate decision to make a native Mac version will indeed be the publisher's decision. However, if the the publisher who signs the PC/Console version of Experience is not interested in a Mac version, I will make sure that we retain the rights to sign with a separate publisher for Mac Experience. Several Mac-only publishers have already contacted WXP about the rights to the Mac version, so the future looks bright for Mac users. I got a chance to play with Apple's new G3 Macs and ATI's Rage 128 chipset at the 1999 Game Developer's Conference. This combination is really hot, and is more than powerful enough to handle our 3D engine's outdoor worlds and next-generation graphic effects. Thanks again for the kind words. Rest assured I am doing everything in my power to make sure that Mac users will have the opportunity to play Experience on their translucent blue machines.
Randy: Our apologies to the good people at WXP for our confusion over where and who they are. But more importantly thanks for the inside scoop on their spectacular game Experience and the status on a Mac version. This letter is a great example of how industry conferences like the Game's Developer Conference are so important to the health of the Macintosh. Shows like this give developers a chance to use Mac hardware and see what it can do for their titles. I'm sure any game maker who has laid hands on a B&W G3 knows Macintosh is fast becoming THE gaming platform.
Gary: Boy it just warms my power supply to hear game developers openly talking about their impressions of the "New " Macintosh and what it means to their development efforts. Obviously Patrick and crew are Mac fans and are doing all they can to make sure a Mac version comes to fruit. Let's hope Mac gamer's out there do their part and let game publishing companies know we want this game on the Mac. "Take our money, please!"
Marathon- No Story!!!
Your article was nice, but you've scrubbed one fact about one of the games you've mentioned. You mention Marathon as not having a plot. (Actually you mentioned some thing about thinness of plot...?) Maze/puzzle running was mentioned, as well I think, while there are several levels in Marathon Infinity that involve little puzzle running, and are mainly metaphorical, or parts of the intricate story.
Well, unlike other games of its kind, ie: Doom, Quake, Duke Nukem, Unreal...The Marathon Trilogy has more of a plot than you realize. You'd be suprised at the almost novel-storyline in the games.
Don't believe me?
Please direct your browser to this URL:
...And look around there for a little while.
And, the people that created the scenario for Marathon Infinity, and a great deal of M1 and M2, (Greg Kirkpatrick is the man!), Double Aught Software, are working on a 3D, 1st person game called Duality. It should also be of the highest story caliber.
Just my dual shiny copper discs.
Thank you for your time, I enjoyed reading the article.
Gary: Well Michael, trust us, yours was not the only letter we received about Marathon and it's involved plot.
Randy: And we will concede that a rather extensive plot has developed around the Marathon series.
Gary: However, there are two beefs we have with Marathon's plot. One, the great story that surrounds the Marathon series has been developing on the web site for the game. While we dig the story just as much as the next joystick jockey, this is not a part of the game play. Two, the story that does unfold during the game is all staged in static monitors. The player stops at the beginning of each level and reads the screen, finds out where the switches are and then goes back to the killing.
Randy: When we talked about bringing more plot into games in our Game Fusion article we were really looking for games that unfolded the plot through the game play itself. We want future games to let the player pull together the story through sounds, characters they meet and objects they find. Many Director based games are good at this but have limited interactivity. On-the fly 3D games are great at interactivity but lack sorely in the plot department. For a good example of the kind of fusion we are talking about, take a look at Altor Systems new game title Nightfall (www.altorsys.com) . They developed a great 3D engine that allows tons of player interactivity all in real time 3D.
Gary: But I do agree with Michael on one point Duality looks killer.
What's up with that?
What's up with all your letters ending with "What's up with that?" It seems like everyone is asking that question. Do you just paste that in at the end of everyone's letter? I have to admit it does add a bit of intrigue to your column. So, what's up with that?
What's up with that?
Steven M. Fish
Randy: No Steve, we just paste it into the end of your letter.
Thanks for your recent column on speakers. It ties into a forthcoming editorial that should be published on MacGaming.com this coming week, about specific areas that Apple must work on to make the Mac architecture itself more friendly not just to gamers but to game developers as well.
I had a chance to pay Reality Bytes a visit this past week and got a first-hand demonstration of Dark Vengeance on a Pentium II system equipped with one of Creative Labs' new EAX 2.0-compliant sound cards. Wow. It blew my mind- the directional sound was totally immersive and considerably better than anything the Mac can do with or without a set of Bose Acoustimass speakers.
SRS, as impressive as it is, is no substitute for real multipoint surround sound technology. It made me realize that Macs completely lack any sort of consumer-level third party sound card technology. I really feel strongly that Apple has to somehow incent companies like Creative to bring their products to the Macintosh space- it certainly would be a coup to the Mac market to gain a foothold in this arena.
As graphic accelerator products like Voodoo3 and RAGE 128 and RIVA TNT infiltrate themselves into consumer computers, we're going to see some ultimate levelling of the amount of graphic realism we see in games: once you get fluid, lifelike texturing and animation at 60 FPS, where can you go that will actually build value? There's obviously still room for
improvemen- we're still a long way from Star Trek's holodeck- but gamers are going to increasingly look for other ways to build the gameplay value of their system. And all the hardcore gamers I've talked with suggest that sound is unquestionably as important as video in building an immersive, quality experience. Apple would do well to pay attention to the cues coming out of the PC game industry and play catch-up in a hurry- this is a place that, without too much effort- Apple can maintain parity, and perhaps even pull ahead of, its PC counterparts.
Peter A. Cohen
Gary: Nice letter Peter and good point. While Apple has been pumping all the right stuff into the newest crop of G3 powerhouses to improve the speed and graphics, not much has happened in the sound department since the Performa 6400 came out with built in 3D Surround Sound. As we have stated in past columns sound if fully half of the gaming experience. And while the Apple has surpassed the PC competition in most performance and graphics related issues, it is falling a little behind in the audio department.
Randy: And they are not plying their faithful Macolites with enough complementary beer and cocktail weenies either. But that's another column.
We'll be the first to tell you Apple has been plenty busy with improving the Macintosh computer in just about every conceivable way. We can understand why the sound department has been at a standstill for a few years. However with all the developers and third party manufactures flocking back to the Mac these days, now would be a great time to let some PCI sound board makers take their shot at making a top notch sound board for gamers.
Gary: True enough my complementary cocktail grubbing comrade. Since the Mac is taking the top spot as the Ultimate Gaming Machine, Mac gamers should also have a choice of sound systems to go with all those beautiful graphics. Steve, are you reading this?